Congress & Alternative Energy: Investment Ideas

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...The nascent alternative energy industry is greatly dependent on subsidies. Demand for solar and wind energy products is likely to fall if the tax credits are not renewed. Given that companies require around half a year lead time for financing major projects, plans for next year are starting to come on hold. If nothing happens by the end of September, projects will be dropped. Solar and wind shares will likely continue falling as a result...Devin Hobbes

...The debate in the Senate, where Republicans blocked the latest attempt to extend the tax credits, is not about renewable energy. Everyone seems to be in favor of it. The argument is over how to fund it. The most recent plan, for a short term credit extension, was to levy more taxes on hedge funds and to delay certain tax breaks for multinational companies. Republicans did not like it. They also wanted to focus more on domestic oil drilling.

A compromise may be in the works. A group of ten senators--five Republicans and five Democrats--has proposed opening up parts of the Gulf of Mexico for oil drilling. The tax revenues generated from these new projects can be used to fund renewable energy. Even if the plan is not adopted, it shows that progress is being made. Come September, a bill will probably be sent to President Bush for his signature. But with the government we never know...

The nascent alternative energy industry is greatly dependent on subsidies. Demand for solar and wind energy products is likely to fall if the tax credits are not renewed. Given that companies require around half a year lead time for financing major projects, plans for next year are starting to come on hold. If nothing happens by the end of September, projects will be dropped. Solar and wind shares will likely continue falling as a result. General Electric (GE), a chief proponent of the renewable energy credits and the largest wind turbine manufacturer in the US, also stands to be hurt (although much less so) if credits are not renewed...

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